Transitioning into Fall

Karen Hirst

Clouds relax into draped configurations of puffy cotton across a blue sky.

Sunlight paints the earth below in a mellow golden wash with occasional dashes of orange and red appearing on the tips of dark green leaves … a tease for the vibrancy of colours that will soon follow. Pale golden fields of harvested hay lay in sharp contrast to the deep green of the soy crops still to be harvested and the tasselled corn stalks that await picking.

Robins are becoming more scarce and the occasional blue jay reappears out of nowhere only to disappear again. Seagulls and a few geese are seen floating lazily on the river bends of the Mississippi River in Appleton and Pakenham. Mares and colts, goats and sheep relish the fall sun and the freshness of air after a sweltering summer. They are filling their bellies with green sprouts and grasses growing in their paddocks … they too have a harvest of the season to enjoy.

The first butter dripping crunch of Hudson’s sweet corn and the satisfying taste of a sun-warmed tomato sandwich, boiled baby potatoes with butter, salt and pepper or the fresh squeaky bite of garden fresh yellow beans and one begins to feel the return call to the hearth of the home … it is an earthy, nesting time of year.

For those skilled, the garden is transformed into preserves for imbibing thru the long winter months. Some will reap the efforts of others thru purchases made at weekend markets … there is an instinctive pull to store the earth’s bounty for later feasting and pleasure. Apple trees await the pluck of their rosy red spheres from heavily laden boughs … soon to be found maybe, under the flakey pastry of church supper pies?

The geese will be recalled in abundance to the skies over the river as the chipmunk and the squirrel are called to hunt for their winter stores. With a newly purchased school outfit, haircut, schools supplies and lunch pail, the school bell rings out, calling for a return to the classroom and the world of commerce prepares to make the transition from BBQs to Halloween masks and candy … we are all called to respond to the traditions of a new season.

Fall flower gardens keep the sturdy bright yellows and the deepening pinks of the sedums for their ending glory. The rich red of the Sumac dots our highways while Burning Bushes give firelight to our front lawns. Gardeners will prepare their summer beds for the first blooms of spring while the last fallen leaf from the Maples will be raked and lawns put to bed readied for a blanket of snow. Wood gathering, chopping and stacking will be well on its way to being available for providing the warmth from wood stoves and with the storage of the bird baths will appear the bird feeders offering a warm welcome for our feathered winter visitors … the blue jays, the chickadees, the cardinals, the doves will once again take up winter residence with us.

The fall transformation culminates in a harvest festival of celebration and Thanksgiving … fall church suppers bring communities together and in our homes, family and friends gather to celebrate the earth’s bounty and give thanks for the blessings and richness of our lives.